WASHINGTON (June 20, 2012) – Statement of Paul Billings, Vice President for Policy and Advocacy of the American Lung Association
“Today, a strong bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate stood up for the health of our children and rejected attempts by big polluters and their allies in Congress to rollback clean air safeguards that protect the public from toxic air pollution. Senator Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) S.J. Res. 37 was firmly rejected by a 53 to 46 vote of the Senate.
“We applaud the Senate’s rejection of yet another attempt to block vitally important clean air protections. The American Lung Association is heartened to see support on both sides of the aisle in favor of protecting the health of children and families from toxic pollutants like mercury, arsenic, acid gases, and formaldehyde. With five Republican Senators and 48 of their Democratic colleagues voting against this extreme attack on public health, it is clear that the Senate is not willing to accept rollbacks of lifesaving clean air protections.
“Had it passed and become law, the measure would have permanently blocked the scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing safeguards that will cut toxic air pollution. The long overdue Mercury and Air Toxics Standards became final earlier this year and were developed to comply with a Congressional mandate to reduce toxic air pollution more than twenty years ago.
“The EPA estimates that the Power Plant Mercury and Air Toxic Standards will prevent 130,000 childhood asthma attacks; more than 6,000 cases of acute bronchitis among children; as many as 11,000 avoidable premature deaths; and 4,700 heart attacks, annually.
“Today’s Senate action stands in stark contrast to the repeated efforts in the House of Representatives to rollback health protections. In fact, the House is expected to vote soon on yet another bill (H.R. 4480) that will gut the Clean Air Act; we call the bill, “The Gutting Air Standard Protections Act” or “G.A.S.P. Act.”
“The U.S. Senate understands that the public wants a Congress that looks out for them, not big corporate polluters. Our children cannot afford to wait any longer for clean air. We urge the House of Representatives to follow their lead in doing what’s best for the health of the American people.”
About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity and holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.